If we believe in the concepts of harm reduction and restorative and transformative justice, then we need to get involved in 12 step advocacy. 12 step programs began with the birth of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) when it was founded in 1935 out of a conversation between Bill Wilson aka Bill W. and Bob Smith. They both found spirituality to be a useful tool for recovery, with Bill W. diving into spiritualism and communication with spirits via seances and Ouija boards. Both also agreed that support networks helped as well, with Bill W. taking inspiration from anarchist Peter Kropotkin’s theories on mutual aid. Bill W. believed that these two aspects, the spiritual and mental, were balanced by a third, the physical, in the form of the vitamin supplement niacin. He later became a huge proponent of LSD and psychedelic therapy as a potential means to cure addiction.
Together they built a recovery model based on the principles of transformative justice, where one admits to their wrongdoings, genuinely works to change their behavior, and attempts to make amends where possible; autonomy, where no individual AA group or participant holds power over another; mutual aid, where the group is one’s support network and vice versa; and of course, anonymity.
This has since proven to be such a popular method for recovery that not only has AA spawned a number of similar groups based on the model, but even the court system in many areas has taken to promoting it as a transformative justice alternative to prison time.
Since the days of Bob Smith and Bill W. there have been many other recovery groups which have adopted AA’s 12 step program as their guide, including Narcotics Anonymous, Gamblers Anonymous, Sexaholics Anonymous, Neurotics Anonymous, Racists Anonymous, and Survivors of Incest Anonymous, among many others. Anyone can take the 12 step model with its original anarchistic intentions and apply it as a model for anarchist support groups dealing with any form of addiction.
Of course some people will be turned off by the religious element of the group, but it’s worth noting that the second of the Twelve Traditions states, “For our group purpose there is but one ultimate authority – a loving God as He may express Himself in our Group conscience.” That last part is key. The “Group conscience” or the whole of the support group itself, can be the higher power that one relies on. It is a recognition that sometimes we can accomplish more collectively than individually.
Now I’m not saying that 12 step programs help everyone. No model can promise that. There are alternative models for addiction recovery that are far more effective for some people. But the 12 step model is one that we can easily replicate alongside our other harm reduction and transformative justice organizing efforts. It’s a model that can be every bit as decentralized and easy to replicate as Food Not Bombs and we should normalize it in anarchist circles so radical 12 step programs become as abundant as Food Not Bombs. We should host AA and NA groups at every infoshop, community center, library, and church that’ll let us and rejuvenate the anarchist spirit it was founded upon so that we may spread our politics via example while providing an invaluable resource for those in need.
The views in this article may not reflect views or editorial policy of The Green Market Agorist.
We’re being told that the fate of democracy itself is at stake, that by casting our votes this week we can return to the cruel yet familiar U.S. hegemony we know so well. While some may hold their noses and cast their votes against fascism, we all know that if voting changed anything it would be illegal. Abolitionists and freedom fighters will not stop until we have crafted something better upon the ashes of the old.
Hit Tweet too fast! They’re back from the printer. Lay your hands upon the 2021 Certain Days: Freedom for Political Prisoners calendar! This is our twentieth edition and we are so excited to share them with you.
There are three political prisoner birthdays in November, so this would be a great time to throw an online prisoner letter-writing party! The personal touch of a birthday card means so much to those inside, so write a letter, and show your solidarity with those fighting for a better world. Remember that prisoners at Federal prisons (USPs and FCIs) cannot receive cards, colored paper, or colored ink.
Ed Poindexter, #27767 Nebraska State Penitentiary PO Box 22500 Lincoln, NE 68542 *Ed has limited vision, so use extra-large font
Joseph Dibee, #812133 Multnomah County Jail 11540 NE Inverness Dr. Portland, OR 97220 *Joe is being held pre-trial; do not discuss or ask about his case.
Joshua Williams, #1292002 Potosi Correctional Center 11593 State Highway O Mineral Point, MO 63660
Jalil Muntaqim, who served 49 years in prison for his involvement with the Black Panther Party and the Black Liberation Army, was finally released on parole in mid-October, just before his 69th birthday. On Friday, October 30, Jalil was arrested and is facing re-imprisonment for voter registration! More info coming soon.
Anti-fascist political prisoner David Campbell was released in mid-October, after serving an 18-month sentence from trumped up charges stemming from an alt-right counter-protest. You can learn more about David and offer some much-needed support here.
It is the giving season, and you’re more than likely being inundated with emails and requests to donate to worthy causes. With the world literally burning down around us, there is no end to those who need support and solidarity now. That said, what could be more worthwhile and meaningful than supporting those being targeted for fighting to create a better world?
Be sure to download the latest version of the zine by the Page One collective that highlights the 14 elders currently incarcerated for their participation in Black liberation movements.
The police murder of Daniel Prude in Rochester, NY has brought renewed calls for the release of political prisoner Rev. Joy Powell, herself imprisoned for fighting against police violence in Rochester. You can learn more about Powell’s struggle, and donate for her legal fund here.
There are recent calls (here and here) for the release of longtime political prisoner, and Certain Days founding inside collective member, David Gilbert. Given a 75-to-life sentence for his involvement in the Black Liberation Struggle, Gilbert’s release would require clemency or the release of elder prisoners in NY state. Free David Gilbert!
Colin Kaepernick has publicized his “Abolition for the People” project, with essays focused on a future without policing and prisons. Among the many must-read essays is one calling for the release of longtime Black Liberation political prisoner Russell Maroon Shoatz, written by his son, Russell Shoatz III.
Vegan anarchist political prisoner Eric King recently published a new essay on his time in solitary confinement, where he is facing additional charges. He has also just released two new poems and some artwork, available here.
If you have not yet read Susie Day’s new book, The Brother You Choose, about the ongoing and life-changing relationship between Baltimore Black Panther Party members Eddie Conway and Paul Coates, here is a review to motivate you.
Marking the 50th anniversary of the Tombs jail uprising in New York City, Willie Mack has written a moving piece examining the role of this particular jail rebellion in the string of prison revolts that erupted over the following years.
For a unique perspective on Aaron Sorkin’s latest film, The Trial of the Chicago 7, check out this piece by Nancy Kurshan, who was intimately involved in trial proceedings.
This week as we approach the 2020 election dumpster fire, we have stories on police getting caught quoting Adolf Hitler in their training manuals, the American Identity Movement going down with the ethno-state, and lots of news, doxxes, and more!
With so much to cover, Iet’s jump in!
The Kids Are Alright: Student Journalists from duPont Manual High School in Louisville, Kentucky Discover Local Police Training Manual Quotes Hitler
Kentucky AG, defending the cops caught using a training module that quotes Hitler: “I don’t think this is representative of the men and women who serve in the thin gray line.” Thin gray line? Well, that was the uniform color of the Confederates and SS.https://t.co/1wiJHUdsAw
duPont Manual High School students and reporters for the Manual Redeye, Satchel Walton and Cooper Walton wrote and published an article on October 30th bringing to light alarming information after receiving a copy of the Kentucky State Police training slideshow. In addition to blatant calls for violence, the training also quotes Adolf Hitler a total of three times throughout the slideshow, the most quoted person in the training, according to the Manual Redeye. The Kentucky State Police are the second largest police force in the state of Kentucky and “urges cadets to be “ruthless killer[s]” and quotes Adolf Hitler advocating violence.”
“The slideshow was included in KSP documents obtained via an open records request by local attorney David Ward of Adams Landenwich Walton during the discovery phase of a lawsuit. Ward requested KSP materials used to train a detective who shot and killed a man in Harlan County, and Ward shared the presentation with Manual RedEye.” This training comes to our attention following a summer of protests in response to police violence and police murdering Black people like George Floyd and Louisville, KY’s Breonna Taylor.
Slides throughout the slide deck utilize quotes directly from Adolf Hitler’s manifesto Mein Kampf, a work that is central to most neo-Nazi and far-right organizing, and place them squarely into the context of modern-day policing in Kentucky. One of the quotes, “the very first essential for success is a perpetually constant and regular employment of violence,” was used on a slide titled: “Violence in Action” and linked to a Goodreads page of other quotes by the fascist and antisemitic dictator.
The training pulls much of it’s content from Dave Grossman’s highly sought after and incredibly problematic “Killology” training. “Killology” has been questioned and condemned by members of the public throughout the country, especially in the wake of The Uprisings in response to racialized police violence but continues to be perpetuated through the power and persuasion of police unions, who will often pay for their members to attend. In an interview with PBS Frontline, Grossman speaks to the efficacy of his training, “Modern training makes you kill without conscious thought. …We’re making it possible for people to kill without conscious thought. And frankly, at the moment of truth, they need to be able to do that.”
High-school journalists in Kentucky caught the cops quoting Adolph Hitler and urging trainees to be “ruthless killers.”
Though not entirely surprising given the continued overlap between policing, racialized violence, and far-Right organizing, this training slideshow indicates yet another unabashed connection between fascism and state violence. As we have documented with regularity over the course of the last two years, antifascist researchers who are tracking the far-right are releasing the identities of members of law enforcement with far-right ties. This extends to the extrajudicial killing of Michael Reinoehl, a leftist activist who shot and killed Aaron Danielson, a member of the far-right group Patriot Prayer. Reinoehl’s murder was both ordered and celebrated by Trump. The growing concern of fascist policing has metasticized throughout the country and into local law enforcement agencies. A 2006 FBI threat assessment report states, “In addition, white supremacist infiltration of law enforcement can result in other abuses of authority and passive tolerance of racism within communities served.”
The Manual Redeye also reports, “A closing slide of the Powerpoint simply states “Über Alles” in large text. The phrase, which was previously part of the German national anthem, translates to “above all” or “above everything else,” commonly used to signify national superiority. Modern Germans heavily associate the phrase with the Nazis.”
With this kind of blatant connection to fascism, it’s hard to look the other way. Though given the tenor of fascism already present in the way our government operates, it appears that some agencies don’t care to remain covert. Instead, the ideology behind their efforts exists entirely in the forefront, almost as if its something to be proud of.
ProPublica Releases New Video of Shooting Involving Michael Reinoehl
Investigative outlet ProPublica has released a new video showing a new perspective on the the shooting death of Jay Danielson of Patriot Prayer, a neo-fascist organization in the Pacific Northwest, involving Michael Reinoehl. The video shows Reinoehl being confronted by Danielson, who then lunges forward and shoots a can of bear mace at Reinoehl, who then responds by firing a pistol, twice; within minutes, Danielson was dead.
Hours prior, Danielson along with hundreds of members of far-Right groups and Trump supporters had flooded into Portland to attack people on the street with projectiles and other weapons while driving trucks emblazoned with Trump and Blue Lives Matter flags. In an interview with VICE released several days after the shooting, Reinoehl claimed that he was acting in self-defense by firing on Danielson. The same night that the interview aired, Reinoehl was shot and killed by US Marshalls and local law enforcement, with many witnesses claiming that police did not identity themselves before shooting and Reinoehl did not fire upon them. Both Bill Barr and Donald Trump have celebrated the political assassination of Reinoehl in official statements and in speeches.
Neo-Nazi Group, American Identity Movement Has Officially Disbanded
American Identity Movement, a re-brand of Identity Evropa, which itself was a re-brand of the National Youth Front, the youth-wing of the neo-Nazi American Freedom Party and originally launched by neo-Nazi, Nathan Damigo, has officially disbanded. After helping to organize the neo-Nazi Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Identity Evropa was brought under the leadership of Eli Mosley, who was removed after it became public he was lying about his military service.
Mosley was then replaced with Patrick Casey, a private-school boy who became radicalized by InfoWars and worked for it’s white nationalist analog, Red Ice TV. Casey attempted to rebrand the group under the banner of the American Identity Movement, but the organization was hit by waves of doxxes and defeats. In 2020, a former organizer, “Samantha,” left the organization and came forward to expose a culture of open Hitler worship and rape and death threats against female members.
Good riddance to the white nationalist “American Identity Movement” — formerly Identity Evropa — which announced today that it is dissolving.
Collins was a regular of the infamous Iron March forum who’s leaks were published in 2017. According to the Department of Justice, Collins and his co-conspirators (Jordan Duncan, 25, and Paul James Krsycuk, 35) are alleged to have been “manufacturing and selling hard to obtain firearms and firearm parts in a manner that would hide these purchases from the federal government.”
SPLC reports that, “The 1,653 users of Iron March believed they were united across the borders of white majority countries in a fascist struggle of an international scale. These users came to Iron March to debate what they believed to be universal truths about fascism, according to a 2016 podcast that featured one of the site’s founders and another contributing member. Fascism was a subject for which Iron March had a religious reverence.”
Collins could face up to 20 years if convicted.
Anthony A. Raymond, Proud Boy of Dickinson, North Dakota, Arrested for Threatening to Blow Up Polling Station
According to the Grand Forks Herald, “a 33-year-old self-professed “Proud Boy” was arrested Wednesday, Oct. 28, by the Dickinson Police Department on terrorizing charges after sending an anonymous email to The Dickinson Press in which he conveyed a bomb threat, targeting a voting location in the city.”
Dickinson Police Department traced the IP address from where the email was sent to identify the sender. Dickinson Police Sargeant attempted to quell concerns over safety at the polls by chalking up this incident as being isolated and insinuated that mental health issues are the reason for Raymond’s threats, perpetuating a dangerous myth of a link between mental illness and violence. The reality, though, is much more complicated and concerning given that militias and other far-Right organizers are gearing up all over the country to monitor pulling places while armed.
Jacob Wohl and Jack Burkman, Right-Wing Grifters Indicted for Fraud and Bribery in Multiple States
According to the Cleveland Scene, right-wing grifters Jacob Wohl and Jack Burkman were indicted in Cuyahoga County, OH following an indictment for the same robocall scheme that landed them an indictment in Michigan. The Cleveland Scene reports, “Wohl and Burkman face eight counts of telecommunications fraud and seven counts of bribery and a possible 18 years in prison. (Bribery in this context refers to 3599.01(A)(2) in the Ohio Revised Code: “Attempt by intimidation, coercion, or other unlawful means to induce such delegate or elector to register or refrain from registering or to vote or refrain from voting at a primary, convention, or election for a particular person, question, or issue.”)
Click here to listen to one of the calls. It instructs callers that their mail-in votes will add their personal information to a public database used by law enforcement to track down old warrants, used by credit card companies to track down outstanding debts as well as used by the CDC to check for mandatory vaccinations, among other things. Obviously, all of this is entirely false and a move to keep people from exercising their right to vote or force people to pick between not voting or going to the polls.
The Cleveland Scene also states, “Wohl and Burkman have been removed from social media sites for making bogus claims, including manufacturing sexual-assault allegations against former Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg and special counsel Robert Mueller. They also falsely claimed Elizabeth Warren had a sexual relationship with an ex-Marine male escort.”
John G. Dominguez, Proud Boy from Claremont, CA
I know it’s been awhile, but let’s get right back to it and say a big hello to an unabashedly neo-Nazi Proud Boy from Claremont, California, John G. Dominguez, better known as “Stealthy Steve”. 1/ pic.twitter.com/IXLdLis9kK
Antifa Garfield has identified Proud Boy John Dominguez, also known as “Stealthy Steve,” of Claremont, CA. Dominguez is a visual artist who incorporates far-Right and fascist imagery into his work. His white supremacist art is posted publicly on his Instagram profile where he also shares content related to his affiliation with the Proud Boys, suggesting that his friends in the “Western Chauvinist” hate group are tolerant of his Nazi sympathies.
John Dominguez, aka Stealthy Steve’s Nazi artwork was published in Fish+Zoom, an art magazine published by John Lee.
Disturbingly, Dominguez is very active in his local art scene and has illustrated a children’s book. A piece displayed at the Alley Gallery in Pamona featured an “SS” logo. Colorado Springs Antifascists discovered that one of his drawings–a piece featuring a portrait of Adolf Hitler in front of a black-sun “sonnengrad” logo, supposedly inspired by the writings of Nazis Julius Evola and Savitri Devi – was featured in Fish+Zoom art magazine.
Colorado Springs also unearthed a pretty entertaining video of Dominguez getting punched at a Proud Boy boxxing match:
While his exact employer is unknown, Dominguez appears to work for a crime scene cleanup company. Multiple photos on his Instagram appear to have been taken on the job. One shows the Proud Boy holding a found weapon, and another shows a bloody fire escape. In the caption of the latter photo, Dominguez writes about choosing his job based on his desire to “mentally prepare” for the violence and upheaval he expects in the future. Please contact Antifa Garfield with any information about John Dominguez’s employer.
Tristian Webb, member of neo-Nazi paramilitary group the Base, out of Bad Axe, MI
Following the FBI arrest of two Base members in Bad Axe, MI, Antifa Garfield has released the identity of a third Nazi terrorist, and the owner of the group’s compound. According to Antifa Garfield, Tristian Webb is the prospective member called “Erik” referred to in this article about the Base’s vetting calls. Tristian’s mother, a nurse named Jennifer Anne Webb, owns the property where the group’s compound is located. See the thread below for more information.
John Jared Santoro, Goytalk Founder of Springfield, MA
Today I’m proud to introduce you to John Jared Santoro aka J-SpLit aka Dino Spumoni of Goytalk. John is a residen of Springfield, MA by way of NY, RI, and Chesapeake, VA.
John Santoro of Springfield is a racist, anti-Semitic, far-Right content creator and the founder of the website Goy Talk. Judging by his Goy Talk content, he spends most of his time re-posting far-Right YouTube videos and publishing other Nazi’s Twitter threads as articles. Like so many other fascists, he’s also a rapper, and uses his “skills” to write anti-Semitic, homophobic, white supremacist songs, like the one shown in the thread below. More information here.
Shelby Walman of Portland was one of the organizers of the September 26th Proud Boys rally. According to Rose City Antifa, he frequently works alongside Drew Duncomb, also known as “Black Rebel,” who marched at the deadly Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville. He was recently photographed alongside COPS NW leader Audra Price, Monica Noble, and Timothy Ryerson, all of whom were identified by Rose City Antifa in recent weeks due to their participation in far-Right demonstrations. On August 22nd in Portland, Walman protested alongside Corey Wyatt, a neo-Nazi with close ties to Aryan Soldiers member Joey Pedersen, who carried out a murder spree in 2011.
Kyle Dean Dornan, Far-Right Facebook Personality of Fairfield, IA
Anti-Semitic, misogynist, transphobe racist Kahl O’Dournian @Facebook personality & admin of “Make Women Women Again” & “Make Americans American Again” revealed as Kyle Dean Dornan, student at @maharishiuni in Fairfield IA
Chicago Antifascist Action has exposed far-Right Facebook group admin “Kahl O’Dournian.” Kyle Dean Dornan runs the Facebook groups “Make Americans American Again” and “Make Women Women Again,” which are full of racism, homophobia, misogyny, and anti-Semitism. As recently as 2016, Kyle self-identified as a libertarian. More recently, he has become a proponent of the fascist “Great Replacement” theory, as well as Holocaust denial and “esoteric Hitlerism.” Dornan lives in Fairfield, IA and attends Maharishi International University, a school founded by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi that emphasizes the practice of Transcendenal Meditation. Please see the full post by Chicago AFA to learn how you can take action against this dangerous fascist by reporting his social media profiles and contacting the dean of his school.
Thomas J. Louden, Bucks County Civilian Defense Force Militia Leader of Pekasie, PA
AntiFash Gordon has identified Thomas Louden, a volunteer firefighter and director of managed care at Jefferson Health in Philadelphia. He also serves as Batallion Chief of the Sellersville Fire Department and Deputy Emergency Management Coordinator of Hilltown Township, Pennsylvania. This summer, Louden posted about looking to join a militia and hinted that the right should be prepared to violently defend itself from socialists. By September he was head of the Bucks County Civillian Defense Force Militia, posting about recruiting a sniper. Since then, his violent rhetoric has only escalated and he frequently encourages armed responses to leftist activity. Louden is heavily armed, trains multiple times a week, and should be considered a danger to the community. See the full thread below:
1/ Meet Thomas J. Louden of Pekasie, PA.
He’s a volunteer firefighter and Director of Managed Care at @TJUHospital in Philadelphia.
But as “Fireeagle,” he’s the head of the Bucks County Civilian Defense Force militia, and spreads violent, racist, and antisemtic conspiracies. pic.twitter.com/IKge7VK52Y
Support Gage Halupowski! Currently serving a six year sentence. There is currently an outbreak at his prison, so please step up and support! More info here.
Support Bay Area anti-racist Adroa Anderson, who is facing charges following a rally against the Proud Boys in San Francisco. Donate to the Black and Brown Legal Defense and Community Give Back on cashapp: $F12UNITY
Support Eric King! Anarchist and antifascist prisoner who has been targeted by the State and neo-Nazi inmates for being ‘ANTIFA.’ More info here. Donate here.
The views in this article may not reflect views or editorial policy of The Green Market Agorist.
As anarchists, we obviously reject representative democracy along with the state itself. As such, many anarchists advocate against voting in elections or even participating at all, seeing it as reinforcing and legitimizing the very system we’re fighting so hard to abolish. However, not all anarchists are against participating in the electoral process in the here and now for a multitude of reasons, although I mainly want to focus on three main ones: harm reduction, soapboxing, and destructive voting.
More often than not, when an anarchist decides to vote, they do so as a means of harm reduction. The idea is to vote to keep the worst candidates out of office to keep them from making things that much more difficult to organize against. Voting against the worst candidates and in favor of ever so slightly less shitty candidates by comparison helps make the work of community organizers and activists just a tiny bit easier. This doesn’t mean it will advance the anarchist cause, but rather, it helps to curb the ability for our political opponents to advance their cause as rapidly. Harm reduction voting is literally voting for the lesser evil as a means to keep the worse evil at bay. It is not an endorsement of the lesser evil so much as a recognition that a lesser evil is easier to pressure and less likely to make things too much worse when compared to the worse evil. At the end of the day though, harm reduction voting still recognizes that evil is evil and needs to be combatted via direct action, mutual aid, dual power, and community organizing, which are the means to achieve actual meaningful changes.
Soapboxing takes a very different approach. Whereas harm reduction voting usually involves merely voting for the lesser evil of the major party candidates, soapboxing involves actually voting for a candidate whose ideas and political platform you more actively agree with, usually a third-party candidate. This is not about voting to win so much as it is voting to increase the exposure of those ideas. The Libertarian Party, for example, was not so much founded to win offices as much as it was founded on the realization that many people only pay attention to politics in terms of political parties and elections. As such, if the goal is to spread those ideas to a wider audience, utilizing the electoral platform as a means to get more people to pay attention to one’s message is extremely useful. Politicians do not have to win to spread ideas that end up becoming more mainstream as a result.
Think of how Ron Paul brought the ideas of libertarian capitalism to the mainstream or how Bernie Sanders has done the same for democratic socialism. Modern anarchists such as Vermin Supreme, Spike Cohen, James Weeks, Brian Ellison, Jae Carico, Derrick Broze, and Matt Kuehnel, have all run for office as a means to platform ideas that were not being shared in those spaces in order to reach a larger audience with no expectation to win. Voting third party as a means to help anarchists secure party nominations and more easily spread their ideas is useful, as is attempting to get them into debates against major party candidates. Imagine if Vermin Supreme had won the Libertarian Party nomination for the 2020 election and garnered enough votes to be included in the presidential debate alongside Trump and Biden. Millions of people who have had little exposure to anarchist ideals would have been confronted with those ideals in real time in a “legitimized” form since it would be happening through the formal electoral system. It’s a means to meet people where they are and share a message that will hopefully serve to radicalize them further: a message that ultimately encourages voters to abandon the electoral system in favor of something better.
On the off chance that a soapbox candidate does win office, then they can not only serve as a means for harm reduction, but also as a saboteur, tearing down the system from within. This idea is known as “destructive voting.” The idea is that candidates run for office to destroy the power wielded by such an office. Examples could include running for sheriff to help aid efforts to demilitarize and defund the police, running for school board to support teachers’ strikes and promote school choice, or running for mayor to push to mutualize local state-owned resources such as utilities. Any push for the abolition of state operations such as ICE, prisons, or the IRS, or the overturning of oppressive laws such as anti-drug or anti-homeless laws can fall under this umbrella, and voting for a candidate that will do so is the very heart of destructive voting. Anything that takes power away from politicians and puts it instead into the hands of the people is a good thing.
In practice, destructive voting and soapbox voting follow the same pattern with the only difference being whether or not the candidate wins, but putting the idea of soapboxing first means that whether or not one wins the election, they’ve achieved success. If the candidate loses, they at least got to share anarchist ideals to a wider audience, but if they happen to win, they get to effect change by tearing down the state from within. Harm reduction voting, however, doesn’t offer these same opportunities and such voters would often ignore candidates closer to their personal politics in favor of the major party candidate that they believe will do the least damage to the most marginalized. Choosing between these approaches to voting largely depends on the circumstances of the particular election. Is there even a candidate whose views more accurately reflect yours? Are any of the major candidates with a real chance of winning too big of a threat to chance letting win? These are questions that you must ask yourself if you decide to vote. But then again, very few anarchists would fault you for ignoring it all in favor of more important things. It’s really up to you. But to criticize your fellow anarchists who choose to vote is to ignore a complex issue that can be approached with nuance and strategy in favor of a black and white simplistic view that ignores the tactical usefulness of certain approaches to electoralism.
The views in this article may not reflect views or editorial policy of The Green Market Agorist.
Whether you’re at a protest, engaging in direct action of questionable legality, or just trying to avoid detection in everyday life by police, fascists, or surveillance systems such as facial recognition technology, there are numerous reasons for anarchists to be concerned with maintaining anonymity, and the way one dresses can be one of the most important factors.
The most obvious tactic to touch upon is black bloc. While this mostly only works for certain situations in which there are large crowds of activists also dressed in black bloc, this can be extremely useful for helping people to blend in with each other and makes it much harder for police to tell black bloccers apart. Just wear all black and cover your face and any identifiable factors and you’re golden. Variations on black bloc also include more colorful ideas such as pastel bloc, which certainly brightens up a protest and makes a statement, but the lack of uniformity can make it easier to tell bloccers apart even if they can’t determine who’s under the mask. So these variations can work to fool facial recognition technology which may be deployed at protests, but are less effective against cops who may still be able to more easily single out individual bloccers for arrests and discover their identities once arrested.
Now if the goal is less to blend in and more just to fool facial recognition technology, CV Dazzle (computer vision dazzle) makeup is a wonderful option. While many of the most popular CV Dazzle makeup design patterns are ineffective against the more recent advancements in facial recognition technology, new patterns can be designed based on the particular algorithms utilized by the particular types of facial recognition technology you are trying to fool.
[W]hether a look works or not is up to you. CV Dazzle is a concept, not a product or pattern. Evading face detection requires prior knowledge of the algorithm. Most of the archived looks […] were designed over 10 years ago for the Viola-Jones face detection algorithm. Current face surveillance uses deep convoluational [sic] neural networks (DCNNs). To use CV Dazzle you must design according to the algorithm (hint: don’t use Viola-Jones looks for a DCNN face recognition system).
Similarly, Juggalo and black metal-style corpse facepaint has also been effective at fooling some forms of facial recognition technology, but it is unclear whether the advances in such technology have been able to render that tactic ineffective as it has some styles of CV Dazzle makeup. While some facial recognition technology has gotten better at detecting partially obscured faces, it still seems as if facemasks and bandanas make it more difficult to be detected. The C4SS merch store has a number of facemasks which can be utilized for both medical and anonymity purposes.
If you wish to up your mask game, Adversarial Fashion has designed masks which specifically provide extra noise to confuse facial recognition devices. Not only do they have patterns that feed false facial data, but they also have license plate patterns which can be used to feed false information to license plate readers. They not only sell masks in these styles but also sell shirts, skirts, dresses, hoodies, and scarves with these various patterns.
While these tactics all work in specific contexts, they also draw attention at the same time. Sometimes, however, you just need to blend into everyday society without being noticed. To that end, we can draw upon the concept of the gray man. In militia circles, “going gray” is typically utilized in SHTF (shit hits the fan) situations where people will be more desperate and more likely to try and rob others for their resources. The idea is that instead of looking like you have a bunch of tactical gear and survival supplies, you dress to blend in and look like you have nothing to offer. Plain clothing and even worn clothing and accessories are utilized to keep a low profile and avoid sticking out.
But we can draw from this concept for less catastrophic scenarios, such as when you are trying to avoid sticking out like a sore thumb to evade police, fascists, or other adversaries. Dress to blend in with the crowd in question, cover any tattoos or identifying markings, and draw as little attention to yourself as possible in both fashion and behavior as a means to lay low.
Dyed hair, unique hairstyles, glasses, unique accessories, and other factors can also be utilized by others to identify you in various situations, so beware. Government agents will go to great lengths to track people via any means they can. Let us not forget that the FBI once deduced the identity of a Philadelphia protester who threw a molotov at a police car by piecing together the design on her shirt from a partially obscured photograph, tracing the unique design to an Etsy store, and then searching through the reviews on the item to track down the customer/protester.
So be careful, be aware, and dress appropriately for the specific situation if you wish to remain anonymous. Safety is important if we wish to be effective as activists.
The views in this article may not reflect views or editorial policy of The Green Market Agorist.